British bank Barclays has put together a team of senior staff members to explore how it can start trading cryptocurrencies, according to a report by Barrons.
Two employees are reportedly working on a project aiming to integrate cryptocurrencies into the firm’s trading operations, the report said. Both employees have published the information on their LinkedIn profiles, but Barclays declined to elaborate any further on what the employees were working on, another article by Business Insider noted.
Barrons, however, identified three employees as part of the new “digital asset project” at the bank. The group is reportedly led by former global head of energy trading Chris Tyrer, who is joined by head of FX strategy Marvin Barth and Dr. Lee Brain, a technologist who has been studying blockchain technology for the bank since 2015.
Meanwhile, Barclays spokesman told CoinDesk that the bank “has no plans at this time to build a cryptocurrency trading desk.”
Barclays CEO Jes Staley has previously expressed skepticism towards cryptocurrencies. During the bank’s annual general meeting in May he said:
“Cryptocurrency is a real challenge for us because, on the one hand, there is the innovative side of it and wanting to stay in the forefront of technology’s improvement of finance. On the other side of it, there is the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for activities that the bank wants to have no part of.”
Also, in April, Barclays analyst Joseph Abate compared Bitcoin to an infectious disease, saying that it might be over very soon.
Cryptonews.com has previously reported that Goldman Sachs, Fidelity Investments, and several other financial institutions are working on setting up their own crypto trading operations, in part because their clients are demanding access to it. Meanwhile, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, said in July that he does not see massive investor demand for crypto.
In either case, as Tuur Demeester, a popular economist and bitcoin investor, points out that most of that institutional interest comes from trading firms and market makers. In other words, these are institutions that don’t necessarily hold bitcoin as an investment, but rather makes money off of the volatility or by making markets.
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